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Ceylon: customs and foundations of modern Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, in general, a poor Asian country, surprisingly high, even by European standards, the life expectancy of the population – an average of 75 years (73 for men and 77 for women). This fact is a good reason for tourists visiting Sri Lanka to carefully look at how people live on their exotic island, to the customs and foundations of their life.
Ceylon: customs and foundations of modern Sri Lanka
It should, perhaps, immediately understand the confusion sometimes occurring with the names: Ceylon is not the name of the country, but islands in the northern Indian Ocean, on the island is the state of Sri Lanka, officially it sounds like this: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. This island state has two capitals – a little-known town with the complex name of Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte (here are the country’s parliament and the supreme court), and the large metropolis of Colombo (here are the residence of the President of Sri Lanka and government agencies).
More than 21 million people live in Sri Lanka, mainly Sinhalese (or Sinhala -74%), Tamils ​​- Sri Lankan (13%) and Indian (6%), as well as small communities of descendants of European colonists – the Dutch and the Portuguese, who call themselves burghers, and Arabs (“Moors”, only about 7%).
Further you go – you will be quieter?
In Sri Lanka, friendly from small to large
Hospitality, open temper and cheerful friendliness of the Lankans are noted by all who visited Ceylon. The wide smiles of dark-skinned islanders seem to accompany tourists during the whole journey. But if you look at the everyday behavior of the Sri Lankans, you can notice an interesting feature: they never raise their voice and do not speak loudly, neither in joy nor in anger. Moreover, raising their voice and generally behaving noisily, in their understanding, is the height of impoliteness and indecent behavior, this should be remembered by everyone who first goes to Sri Lanka.
The “quiet” behavior of the Sri Lankans, which does not coincide with our understanding of the turbulent southern temperament, is explained by their traditionally high religiosity. Sinhalese profess Buddhism, Tamils, the second largest nation of Sri Lanka – Hinduism. Temple buildings on Ceylon are found everywhere, even in the dead of the jungle. Both main religions adhere to the doctrine of the frailty of earthly existence, preach detachment from worldly vanity, the desire for peace and nirvana, perhaps here lies the reason for the “quiet” lifestyle of the Sri Lankans.
Strange as it may sound in the light of all the above, it is religion that is the main and most acute problem of modern Sri Lanka. More precisely, religious strife. News agencies now and then bring messages of bloody armed clashes between Sinhalese and Tamils. These religious feuds are rooted in the centuries-old colonial period in the history of Ceylon, when British authorities forcibly deported many thousands of Tamils ​​from continental India to work on tea plantations. Since then, the island has been smoldering, then inter-religious and interethnic conflict has flared up.
It must be admitted that there is no information that during the clashes between Sinhalese and Tamils ​​foreign tourists and foreigners in general. The authorities of Sri Lanka do their best to localize the conflict, in the cities only a large number of military patrols on the streets remind him of it. This creates certain problems when photographing: tourists are not allowed to take pictures of not only purely military facilities, but also government agencies, banks, company offices, etc., including military personnel themselves.
However, this kind of problems arise for tourists not only with the military – ordinary Sri Lankans react very negatively, for example, if tourists photograph each other against the background of Buddha statues – in their opinion, it is unacceptable to turn backwards to the deity. Photographing Buddhist monks is not welcome, and the Sri Lankans themselves do not always willingly pose for shooting, in such cases they need to ask permission. And one more recommendation: do not rush to joyfully grab the camera when you see a luxurious white car decorated with white ribbons – this is a funeral, not a wedding! White color in Ceylon is the color of grief, at weddings shades of red prevail.
The theme of holidays cannot be circumvented when describing the customs of any nation. In this sense, Sri Lanka gives a great material – 170 holidays are celebrated here every year! This is despite the fact that there are not so many official holiday dates. In the case of a five-day working week, holidays are considered as January 14, January 21, February 4 (Independence Day), March 8, April 13 and April 14 (local New Year), April 22, May 1, May 24, November 1, November 4, December 25 (Christian Christmas). In addition, the date of the full moon is considered a monthly holiday and a non-working day. By the way, drinking in the days of the full moon of alcohol and noisy fun in Sri Lanka is not welcome.

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